Quebec makes AstraZeneca vaccine available for 45 and over, extends lockdown orders

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Quebec will start offering the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to those 45 and over starting Wednesday.

Premier Francois Legault made the announcement today to reporters in Quebec City.

Quebec's move follows similar decisions announced this week by Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba and British Columbia. The AstraZeneca vaccine had previously only been available to those 55 and over in the province.

Legault is also extending the lockdown order until May 3 for Quebec City; Chaudiere-Appalaches, south of the provincial capital; and the Outaouais region in western Quebec.

All non-essential businesses and schools are closed in those three areas, and the nighttime curfew is maintained at 8 p.m. Legault says hospital capacity in those regions is reaching a critical level.

Quebec reported 1,136 new cases of COVID-19 today and 17 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including four in the previous 24 hours.

Health officials say hospitalizations rose by eight, to 694, and 177 people were in intensive care, a drop of six.

The province says it administered 47,799 doses of vaccine today, for a total of 2,448,409; almost 30 per cent of the population has received at least one dose.

Montreal reported the highest number of new cases today, with 224, followed by Quebec City with 195 and the Chaudiere-Appalaches region with 140.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 20, 2021.

The Canadian Press